(Comments and sharing, welcome and encouraged)

I’ve been linking to things on FB all week about NPR and PBS and how the House wants to defund them. I’ve linked to 170 Million Americans in the hopes that people would look at what was at stake and maybe send a letter, make a phone call, make their voice heard. I love NPR and the muppets and Big Bird and Mr. Rogers speaking to Congress about funding for Public Broadcasting is one of my favorite things ever.

As someone involved in film and the arts and writing, the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech is a hugely important issue that I frequently find myself pondering.

But there’s a bigger one and I regret not posting about it sooner.

Planned Parenthood, and in a wider and more important scope Title X, has also been under attack. And while I’ve been worried about the future of Radiolab and All Things Considered, I’ve neglected to mention more the importance of Title X, the very real and vital role it plays in the every day lives of women who may or may not care what the Album Preview of the week is.

If you aren’t familiar with Title X, from their website: “The Title X Family Planning program, was enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families.”

In their effort to curb government spending and reduce the deficit, the House of Representatives has decided that it will attack not only the arts and free speech, National Parks and the EPA, net neutrality, but it will enthusiastically and mercilessly pursue an ideological agenda so far removed from compassion that it will leave many of our most vulnerable without one of the few resources for reproductive health that they have.

As we hear tirades against Obamacare and Death Panels, we ignore the women and children who have little to no access to reliable health care; scared girls who don’t have parents to turn to. The people who have no other options.

Look, I can go on about numbers and stats and whatnot. But so can those on the other side of this debate. That’s fine. That’s what debate is about. And I can also turn out stories about dumpster babies and clothes hanger abortions. That’s a little less what reasonable debate is about but no less reality. Both sides happen, both sides can be manipulated to serve our own means.

I’m not an expert on any of this. All I am is a mid-twenty something who likes nerdy sci-fi novels and who also happens to be a woman. I have the good fortune to have grown up with loving parents in an understanding home. I’ve never had, nor needed, an abortion. I’ve never abused drugs. I like to think I am a responsible adult. I’ve used birth control. I’ve been tested for STDs. I’ve been unemployed and financially strapped and I’ve turned to Planned Parenthood for nothing more than a pap smear because I don’t particularly want to have cervical cancer.

To me, Planned Parenthood signifies a safe place where I can go when I need help for issues that are unique to me as a woman. I would love it if in this society we were all equal. I would love it if men and women were on the same stage, beyond caring whether their sex organs happened to be on the inside or out. In a societal sense however, we are not. Women have fought hard and have come a long way but we still have much further to go. Which is why when fights like this come up in the halls of our government it hurts so much. After coming so far, are we really going to see ourselves set back now? In this brutal, uncaring way? It’s a blow not only to women but to our country as a whole. It’s speaks poorly of us all. We can only be equal when we all share the same regard, the same respect, for each other.

It’s like the fight in Wisconsin. The governor there says the debate is about benefits and how it’s not fair for state workers to not pay more for their pensions when those in the private sector contribute so much. Fine. That’s fair. But what does paying more have to do with taking away the right to bargain? What does it have to do with having to vote yearly on how things are done? Gov. Scott Walker keeps going on about how the increases that state workers will contribute is no big deal and will help with the state’s budget. Fine again. The economy sucks. People have to pay more. I think we’re all sympathetic to that. However, he’s going further and using that excuse as an entry into a full on attack of state workers’ rights.

He’s taking one reasonable compromise and using it to push an ideological agenda against the unions. The House of Representatives is doing the same thing.

Yes, we have to fix the economy. Yes, we have to make concessions in the budget. Fine. I’ll give you that. The system is broken, it has been broken, and we need to fix it.

Since when did fixing it involving taking away from those with the least to give?

Forgive me for wondering at how we managed to bail out the banks, save Wall St., allow for giant bonuses to once again be paid, continue to subsidize oil & corn, still fund a war in Iraq, a war in Afghanistan, extended tax cuts for our wealthiest, but wait. I’m sorry. We need to turn off PBS. We can’t protect the Grey Wolf. And we’re going to eliminate funding to not only Planned Parenthood, the abortion “provider” (who isn’t legally allowed to use Federal funding for abortions, FYI) but also to programs designed to fight teen pregnancy. And it’s all in the name of the hard sacrifices we as a country need to make.

So, we’re going to stop teaching our children how to avoid getting pregnant. And then we’re going to limit their options once they become so. They don’t get contraceptives, they don’t get STD screening, and they can go ahead and have that dumpster baby after all. Rock on!

I might be ranting here. This may seem to have a flavor of bitterness to it. Damn straight it does.

I cannot abide the people who preach ignorance and then leave the poor souls who listen to them to rot.

I could go on about John Boehner and how I disagree with him. I could point out that how on one hand he says things like “Rather than shouting down those in office who speak honestly about the challenges we face, the president and his advisors should lead. Until they do, they are not focusing on jobs, and they are not listening to the American people who put them in power.” (A statement supporting Scott Walker, from his website)

And then maybe mention this other quote: “Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. If some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We’re broke.” Watch the video clip even.

What happened to compassion? What happened to helping your neighbor? How have our elected officials become so detached from the reality of the lives that their constituents live? Since when did we lose sight of “By the people, for the people”?

How have we become so detached from each other?

But hey, don’t worry. Nascar will still get its dollars. We can thank the House’s budget proposal for protecting that!

(In case you were wondering, your votes do actually count. I think this may possibly be a case in point. How we vote has consequences.)

Further Reading:

Planned Parenthood – An Open Letter to Congress. The fight isn’t over yet but John Boehner is holding the threat of a Government shut down over the heads of those in the Senate. Let them know that this is not a compromise they can afford to make.

From Salon.com – This is what “pro-life” means?